Getting internet access on a boat can be frustrating, particularly if you sail in protected areas like Cowan Creek where beautiful anchorages often means no mobile or internet access.
For yachts, however, there is a possible solution, taking advantage of your mast to provide better antenna access to a signal, often blocked out by hills surrounding your anchorage.
I have found that using a wifi modem, (I use a Telstra Elite 3G pre-paid modem), hoisted up the mast radically improves your chances of getting a connection.
It has the added advantage of giving you the opportunity of having up 5 devices connected to the modem at any one time. In our case it is normally an iphone, ipad and a PC.
I put the modem in a waterproof pouch designed to protect mobile phones when you are on the water, and then hoist it up the mast, often only to the first spreader on the flag halyard is enough, but using the topping lift to the top if the mast obviously gives a vast improvement.
Because you have an internet connection, you can now also make mobile calls using Skype. I normally keep a Skype account going so I can call normal phones or mobiles using this connection at any time.